Sometimes we get stuck. We pause to sit back and coast and let somebody else carry the ball for awhile. There’s nothing wrong with being a passenger occasionally, right? Well, it depends. Sometimes we want to wait until everything is perfect before we start to do anything, but I have found that if we simply start where we are, with what we have, when we can, then God in His bigness is well able to compensate for any of our smallness. We can never finish the things we never start. Sometimes, we spend so much time thinking about how to start something that we never actually start it. In this sermon, we look at how Moses had a few excuses when God told him to go back to Egypt and free the Israelites. But for every excuse, God will always be with us and equip us if we just step out in faith. We just need to take the first step.
Bottom Line: How can I be better one year from now?
Something To Talk About:
- Start where you are: When do we start serving God? Do we need a special call? Do you first need to go through special training or preparation? Are there things in your life that you need to get straightened out first? Or are there things that you’ve done that disqualify you from ever being of service to God? The story of Moses is an example of the best time to start serving God is right now, and the best place to start serving God is right where you are at. God told Moses to lead His people out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10). That meant Moses had to leave Midian where he had lived for 40 years. He had to leave his profession of herding sheep. And he had to go back to the land that he thought he left permanently. Moses didn’t think the people would listen to him (Exodus 4:1). Moses told God that he wasn’t a good speaker (Exodus 4:10). He begged God to send someone else (Exodus 4:13). But God told him that He wanted him to go. Moses didn’t want to do what God wanted. Moses tried to resist God’s call on his life. But ultimately, Moses relented and got started by taking that first step from Midian back to Egypt. What can we learn from this time in Moses’ life? If the first lesson is to wait on God’s timing, the second lesson is to not be idle while we wait on God’s timing. To start fresh, to start over, to start anything, you have to know where you are and start from that point.
- Use what you have: Moses had a bunch of excuses, but God used him shortcomings and all. There are many such examples in the Bible of using what people had. One lesser known example is found in Judges 3:31: “After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He once killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.” (The goad is a type of cattle prod, basically a long stick with a pointed end) It was all the weapon he had. But he had something else; he had courage, determination, and faith. So he started straight for the host of enemies, and we are told that he slew six hundred men and delivered Israel. David had a home-made sling and Samson had a jaw-bone. But they all found out that God can use what you have. What do you have to offer to God? Is it much? The crux of the lessons behind these biblical stories is not about a pointed stick, a tough jawbone, or a sling shot. The focus is on the majesty of a mighty, all powerful, God who can use whatever you have, if you give it to Him.
- Do what you can: The Lord wants us to do what we can and He will do the rest. When we do what is possible, then God will do the impossible. When we give what we have, then God can use it to perform miracles. The Lord does not ask us to do what we cannot do. He only wants us to be faithful to do what we can do and give what we can give and He will be faithful to bless us abundantly. In Exodus 17, we see an example of doing what you can. The Israelites were encountering their first opposition while wandering in the desert. The Amalekites attacked the people of Israel. While Joshua led the troops into battle, Moses, along with Aaron and Hur, watched the battle from a nearby hill. Exodus 17:11 reads, “As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.” Eventually, Moses became weary, and so Aaron and Hur responded by holding up his arms until the Israelites were able to finally defeat the Amalekites. Aaron and Hur simply did what they could, and while it doesn’t seem like much, it enabled the Israelites to win the battle. Do what you can and trust God for the results.
- What are the hardest types of things for you to start?
- Is there any job that God cannot use us? Read Psalm 23: Discuss how God used Moses as a shepherd.
- God then gives Moses his job description as he lays out the next 40 years of Moses life in Exodus 3:8. How specific is God in His calling? What can we learn about the detail in which God calls us? Is there any time frame on God’s calling in terms of length of time?
- How do you determine where, when, what, and how to start? Is there something where you are struggling to start? How can you overcome that struggle?
- What do you have—both positive and negative—that God can use for good?
- Where can you start with that first step this week? How will you do what you can to get started this week?
Take One Thing Home with You:
Sometimes the greatest ability we can have is availability. To be where God can call us, to be within whisper range of His summons, that is the beginning of a life of meaningful discipleship. Just like a house or shop in a good, convenient location, an available person is in great demand. So, where you will be in relation to God is essential to be used by Him. You must be near God to be used by him. The Bible says: Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8